I Wonder as I Wander
The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner, (1898) is an oil on canvas. Housed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Tanner uses a column of light to depict Gabriel and paints Mary in peasant clothing with no halo or other discernible holy attributes. This work depicts the biblical scene of the Annunciation, where the archangel Gabriel visits Mary to announce that she will give birth to Jesus.
Carol Text: John Jacob Niles, 1933
Carol Melody: John Jacob Niles, 1933
Piano accompaniment by Lezlie Taguding
I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus, the Saviour, did come for to die.
For poor, ornery people like you and like I
I wonder as I wander
Out under the sky.
When Mary birthed Jesus, ‘twas in a cows’ stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
And the promise of ages
It did then recall.
If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing:
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing;
Or all of God’s angels in heaven to sing,
He surely could have had it,
‘Cause He was the King!
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
- Matthew 1:21
Since Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden, human beings have been enslaved to sin, alienated from God, and under His wrath. All human problems are the direct or indirect result of sin. And there is nothing we can do to redeem ourselves from sin. We cannot go back and undo them nor can we perform enough good works to atone for them. We are trapped. Any deliverance must come from outside ourselves. Because God is merciful and gracious, He took the initiative to redeem those who are trapped in sin. And that is where Jesus comes into the picture.
God did not send Jesus into the world primarily to be a great teacher, a great prophet, or a great religious leader. He sent Jesus to fulfill the greatest mission in all of history to rescue His people from their sins by paying their debt for sin, reconciling them to Himself, giving them new birth and the power to live a new life. What a mystery it is. “I wonder as I wander out under the sky / How Jesus, the Saviour, did come for to die / For poor, ornery people like you and like I / I wonder as I wander / Out under the sky.”
Through Jesus there is a way out of our hopeless enslavement to sin, and it is offered to anyone who wants it. This is the gospel, the best news any human being could ever hear. And it is too good to keep to ourselves. We must share it with those who are still bound in sin and encourage them to receive the pardon and transformed life God offers! As we think about the coming of Jesus, let us rejoice and thank God for His grace and love and be faithful stewards of the gospel message!
Father, thank You for sending Jesus,
our rescuer, redeemer, and hope.
Fill my mind with wonder and awe
at the deep truths of Christmas.
Help me to celebrate and share the
good news of Your grace with others
whom you bring across my path.